I’m Bad At Math

Yet another answer I felt relevant for my blog. It’s questions like this that abruptly ended my pursuit of math for myself and tossed me headfirst into the sea of education to help keep others from drowning in fear of the subject that I adore so.

CaptureThere’s your answer, right there. Confidence is key!

Now, before you think I’m picking on you or doubting your assessment of yourself, please forgive the harsh opening. I want to let you know from the beginning that I believe in you and have no negative thoughts toward your intelligence whatsoever.

You yourself have said that your IQ is high, typically a great indicator of math ability especially! If I am to assume that you believe this, which I do, then the confidence you need is already a part of your personality, which is great news!

Unfortunately, I have seen time and time again students who lack the same attitude about their math skills. Fear not, you are definitely not alone. If you will allow, I would like to give you a few helpful tips in how to improve.

Confidence

No shocker there. In every initial assessment I’ve done with a student, either their parents lead with how their child doesn’t feel good at math or I will quickly discover that my new pupil is afraid to make a mistake.

That’s silly.

I made one small typo in an answer on here that had some 6,000 people read it. Was it embarassing? Perhaps a little. So what did I do with this situation? I pointed it out to every student I saw that day and online to my Facebook friends because I thought it was funny.

In all honesty, it is good that I made a mistake. Not necessarily for my ego, but for others to see that even though I literally do math more than I walk every day, I am not infallible. More than that, it wasn’t the end of the world. I still had numerous upvotes and support, so I corrected the typo and went about my day.

(And I can guarantee that I won’t make the same mistake again because now it has been cemented in my mind.)

I have no misconception about my math ability compared to others. My passion is in educating others, so there are definitely mathematicians out there and on here who are far more capable at computations, mind-boggling equations, and abstract proofs. But I continue on because I can see I’m making a difference every day in the students I teach.

You have an IQ, so the ability is there. Once you let go of the stress of making a mistake that might damage your intelligence (which it certainly won’t, or make others think less highly of your mind), I have no doubt you will begin to see improvements.

Practice

My favorite question for all of my students is this. Does knowing how to do a push-up make you stronger? No, of course not. Doing push-ups makes you stronger.

In order to get better at math, we must do it often. I said above that I do math more frequently than I walk every day. It’s true. I had some of my students in class help me do an experiment one day. The time I spent working through math problems with them and then tutoring in the evenings was almost quadruple the amount of time I spent walking.

Would you ever walk up to someone and say, “Wow, man, you are great at walking!” Probably not, because we all do it all the time. It’s more unusual when someone cannot walk well and typically has some underlying problem that prevents them from being able to do so.

Thus, when someone compliments my math abilities, I politely thank them and humbly offer that example as my reasoning. I am terrible at memorizing things, and know this about myself. So it was a lot of practice that got me to this math degree (thank you teacher who dared me to try to get one).

While I believe confidence may have the most to do with your struggles, you will still have a few years at least of practice in the wrong direction to rewire in your brain. All the time you spent thinking poorly of your math prowess set in your head to think a certain way when a problem came up. Now you will have to practice doubly hard to erase that time.

And don’t worry. In my experience, with a true attitude change, you will be surprised how quickly the fear dissolves away, and you realize just how intelligent you are.

Humility

Ask for help!

Seriously, find someone you trust and ask them to help you while you are improving. This serves two important purposes.

  1. Having someone who has an excellent understanding of mathematics there to guide you helps to feel like a team while initially overcoming your anxiety related to mathematics. They will be there to immediately help arrive at an answer when you get stuck. Over time, they should allow you to struggle more to develop independence until you feel confident enough to handle any problem on your own.
  2. They are going to see your improvements before you are. This is why you need to trust your math guru. If you believe their words and know they come from a place of genuine caring, you will know there must be something to their telling you that you are getting better!

This takes humility as asking for help can be difficult, especially for someone intelligent. I’m sure that so many subjects must come naturally for you, so to have to ask for help may be a new experience. I assure you that no real teacher or tutor will ever think less of you or degrade you for it.

Even people who struggle have an issue asking for help because no one wants to feel dumb. Let me tell you now so that no one else can ever take it away from you: Asking for help is the key to success, especially in academics. It does not make you dumb. Anyone who thinks or says differently has not yet overcome their own anxiety about asking for help in the areas they are aware of in their own lives.

Conclusion

Perhaps I’m wrong and you feel confident and are sure that the problem lies elsewhere. I do believe, however, that with these tips, any one or combination of them, can help you see improvements. Again, I believe in you and know that your future is bright in every academic area.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your math journey!

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Why Buy a Book

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The internet is a remarkable place in that it provides the greatest resource of knowledge ever to exist. The sheer amount of information readily available at my fingertips never ceases to amaze me. This is partially due to the equally simple process of adding to that wealth of data via forums, blogs, and, you guessed it, ebooks. It has certainly never been easier to write and publish your book with absolutely no cost for the world to view. Whether good or bad (certainly a debate for another time), I believe it is safe to say no one would argue that almost every nook and cranny has been explored through the written word.

As a result, we authors, both seasoned and new, understand from the beginning that from the moment we submit our work to a traditional publisher or hit publish on a digital retailer such as Amazon, it becomes one drop in a sea of titles for readers to peruse. Success, particularly in terms of sales, requires a special combination of marketing, networking, and research. But something is missing, isn’t it? Oh yeah, a good, quality book.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I did my research and felt wonderfully overwhelmed by all the different ideas as to how to successfully break into the ebook world and get my work  noticed. It wasn’t until I took a step back to breathe that I remembered my initial purpose: to entertain others with the story I loved inside my own head. I believe it is easy to forget that the most important component of gaining readers is the quality of the book we produce. (This is despite the incessant reminders on every blog I read such as this, and this, and this, and this…)

Though “a good book” was mentioned in every example above either in terms of putting forth your best work or planning exactly how to enter your niche, I still let all the little nuances of how to sell my book consume me. Amidst this whirlwind of brainstorming it dawned on me that I was doing this for myself and anyone who would enjoy my story. With this purpose in mind, I made up my mind to remind myself daily of my true goals, which brings me to the purpose of this article (longest intro ever, right?).

In a medium saturated with articles from writers coaching others how to emulate their success, I chose to instead write about how to approach your ebook from another angle. Here, I would like to remind you how to critique your odds of success from a perspective that we are all experts in: the eyes of a reader.

Why would I buy this?

The same question posed in the title of this article, but now it is yours. I’m sure everyone who reads this has asked themselves exactly the same question in some form or another when deciding if a prospective title is worth their time, energy, and emotion. Each of us has a myriad of ways to answer, but I would like to attempt to narrow it down into three overly broad categories.

  • I can relate to the characters or story setting.
  • I am a fan of this type of story.
  • I am left needing to know more about this story.

I Can Relate

What I’m referring to here might not be exactly what first comes to mind as you read this heading. Though an initial reaction of “OMG! I totally know exactly what he/she is dealing with!” certainly sells your title, those of us with a young inventor as the main protagonist who is attempting to stop an inter-species war while dealing with his own newly discovered ability to shapeshift typically aren’t so lucky.

No, what I am talking about is after only a few pages you have bonded with one or several characters due to some individual characteristic that you either see or would like to see in yourself. Example: For me while reading Harry Potter for the first time (I know you’ll all get sick of me referring to my favorite read, but it shaped my life, ok!), I couldn’t say I was orphaned or that I was mentally abused in my home life and looking for some escape. What I latched onto was school was a home for Harry just as it was for me. His morals and willpower in the face of peril were the aspects that I wanted to emulate.

In my own book, Shifter, I don’t expect for people to relate to Alex in his situation or even home life. Instead I hope they find his ideals noteworthy or his view of the world in that it needs something new. I want for them to find that they were more amazing in themselves all along than they ever realized, not due to some newfound ability but because they find their own self-worth. Just that one single piece of a story where a reader can see his or her self is enough for them to find they’ve entered the world you’ve written in the place of the protagonist.

I Love Stuff Like This

This section is important for two reasons, the first of which we will quickly gloss over. Amazon clumps together titles to try to sell buyers more stuff they might like, so if you haven’t already utilized those keywords to put your work in a category where it belongs and can compete well, get on it! More importantly, readers are drawn to stories with plots, settings, and character types that they are familiar with and enjoyed in other books. Take the post-apocalyptic setting, for example. Numerous titles that became movies over the past few years took advantage of this hype and were extremely successful in more ways than one.

If your idea is to enter the world of zombies, do it right! You most likely adore zombies yourself and have read and watched hundreds of titles featuring the brain-hungry creatures. Just be sure that you are clear in your description as well as any preview that you provide for your book so that readers can immediately recognize “oh, this is just like ___! I loved ___!” As I love Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl due to my addiction to teen fiction, I wanted it to be very clear that the protagonist was a teen and the tone would entertain readers who enjoyed the same works I always have.

As a bonus, this means you will already have something in common with all of your readers which helps you with blogging and any kind of interaction to have a talking point. Like I said in Aspiring to Aspiring Writer, I believe first and foremost that writing is all about loving people and interacting with them. Hence, this is one of my favorite reasons to have put my own title out for the world to read.

Can’t…Stop…Reading

Here is where previews or free books really get to shine. Having a great hook in your description or even the first few pages that Amazon likes to offer will work just as well, however, if you are willing to put in the work and really grab the attention of prospective readers. In my mind, the greatest compliment someone could offer me would be to say “I finished your book because I just couldn’t put it down!” This shows me that my writing, my characters, and my world are so compelling that a reader can’t get enough and is left craving more.

It is here that every successful title shines and draws people back for more and more in series or even just to get more of an author’s mind. If you have a specific scene or moment in your own work that you yourself repeatedly return to just to enjoy again, then this might be a sign that you’ve done a great job. Remembering what I said above about attracting like-minded readers, those same pages are certain to capture a reader’s attention and have them begging for more!

So, Why Buy?

Because I simply have to have this book! Because I enjoyed the work and want to support the author entirely for the selfish reason that I need to be fed more from their mind! Because the characters are so amazing that I want to know every aspect of their lives before and after the story ends! Because this world can go on and on, and I must know all the untold stories hiding within! Because this book is worth my investment!

As always, I hope this encourages you to either finish your masterpiece or to share your work where I can read it. There are so many untold stories out there just waiting for me to dive in and enjoy while finding new inspiration from amazing writers. Don’t lose yourself to the marketing side of things. Instead, stay true to your reasons for writing and try to approach your work as the fan you already are.

Common Core Addition

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As a private math tutor, I am called upon for a number of reasons.  Some parents contact me out of concern that their child is falling behind.  Others reach out to me in the hopes that I can help get their kid to the top of their class or achieve the scores they need to get accepted to the prestigious school of their choice.  Lately, however, I have been approached to simply help students with their homework.  It is not necessarily that the student is behind or looking to expand their knowledge and jump ahead.  Instead, the parents see the methods being used and come to me in frustration to answer the questions that their children have.

While it is true that this is good for business, and it is nice to make a living doing what I love helping people better understand math…I would feel too guilty charging for something that I can remedy in less than an hour.  That is why I am hoping to simplify some of the “crazy stuff” that kids are bringing home these days so that parents aren’t left scratching their heads wondering what is is that a teacher is looking for.

First of all, let’s start with the basics.  If you have a kid who’s in Kindergarten through Second Grade, they are most likely working on adding and subtracting numbers to begin with.  Now many reading this might scoff and say, “Addition? Subtraction?  Why can’t they figure this stuff out?”  Well, let me show you a few things.

Let’s look at an example of a fairly basic problem:

I would hope that this looks simple to the majority of us.  Now consider this, how do you know that 4 added to 8 results in 12.  In the beginning we were given pictures; one group of 8 somethings then a group of 4 somethings and told to count them all up.  Of course, we would count 12 somethings in total.  The problem with this is that counting is slow and we would like to eventually move into memorizing this as a basic addition fact.  How then can we help a young student to internalize this idea that 8 plus 4 equals 12?

This is where some of the Common Core strategies come into play.  Now, let me just preface this with a disclaimer.  I like the methods for helping students to learn concepts that are having trouble with more “old-school” techniques, but these are not useful for everyone.  I believe I made my stance clear on the matter in my other post here (Common Core Rant).  We good?  Ok, back to delving into some of these things.

If a child is having trouble quickly remembering that 8 and 4 make 12, then we have to come up with another way to come up with the answer that is more efficient than drawing objects and counting.  The first step would be to recognize which number is larger.  In this case, 8 is bigger than 4, so we would begin with 8 and count up by 4: 9, 10, 11, 12.  So 12 is our answer.  This is still slow, but it is slightly quicker than counting up to 12 with two groups.  The reason this step is important is for problems like this:

Though this is the same problem, initially, students don’t realize this.  Showing young children that a group of 4 and a group of 8 is the same thing as a group of 8 and a group of 4 is another building block that helps with fact families and more difficult problems later on.  For a student to realize that he or she can start with the larger number will also save time as counting up 8 from 4 will take longer than counting up 4 from 8.  This idea of addition being Commutative is a concept that we get to show students even though they may already have memorized 8+4=12, which is one reason that a teacher may spend extra time on some of these facts.

After establishing that we can count on from the bigger number, we can extend this further.  Knowing something called Ten Facts, we can help students to break problems down into easier pieces.  For instance, we know:

Since we are adding 4, we need to add two more to get to our answer 12.  Ok, there is a lot going on here.  Our number system is based on tens, so being able to recognize how to get to ten, and later to multiples of ten, can help improve students’ efficiency later on in life.  So recognizing all the tens facts,

will help with knowing how to make it to ten for the first step in addition problems involving answers over ten.  Again, notice that both 8+2 and 2+8 are listed as facts.  This is a chance to reinforce the idea that addition can be performed in any order so that with extra practice, students are more likely to internalize the concept.  The second important skill necessary here is to know that 2+2=4.  With the tens facts, a child can see how to get from the larger number up to ten, but that won’t do any good if he or she doesn’t know how much left to add.

Being able to decompose numbers into parts or groups is not only a way for children to perform the rest of this problem and others like it, it also helps to lead into subtraction later on.  Knowing doubles like 2+2=4, or being able to see facts like 1+3, 2+2, and 0+4 all equal 4 will help a student to figure out how much more must be added after figuring out the distance from 8 to ten.  All these methods are explained in school, and the student decides which is easiest or which he or she remembers the quickest to know that 2 more must still be added.

This brings us to the final step of adding 2 to 10.  Being able to add single-digit numbers to ten is useful because it is one of the more quickly learned skills (which builds confidence in students who are struggling) and can carry forward to adding to multiples of ten like 20, 30, 40, and so on.  One of my favorite ways to show students how to add numbers is to say them close together.  For example with 3 and ten, if you say them quickly, you get “threeten,” which sounds a lot like thirteen.  The same with “fourten” and others.  With 11 and 12, the sound doesn’t play out so well, but after practicing the others, the student usually pics up the pattern (and finding a pattern is the best we can hope for our students as a teacher).  Whatever the path, the student will find a way to finish up to see that 10 +2 =12.  So let’s review:

hmmm… I know:

and

so if I added 2 to 8 already, I need to add 2 more:

Phew, that’s a lot of steps, but look at all the good things we learned to get there.  In the end, memorization is the goal.  However, simply memorizing isn’t always the best.  As I stated in Common Core Rant, students who have a deeper understanding of more basic concepts are better prepared to extend that knowledge when working on more difficult problems later on.  Yes, this takes more work, but it could be the only way that your child is capable of getting to the answer if he or she just isn’t remembering the fact initially.

Ultimately, if you prefer that your child learns in a different way, that’s what tutors such as myself are around for, to supplement the education that they are receiving.  However, my goal here is to show the method to the madness and help explain away some of the confusion that many parents have come to me with.  Hopefully, next time your young student comes home with this “crazy new math,” you’ll have an idea of what is going on and what the teacher is trying to convey through these longer processes.  Again, not every student learns the same way, which is my problem with Common Core, since teachers are required to teach the entire class the same methods even though it may not be the most effective.  The techniques are useful, however, and we should appreciate the thought that has gone into helping all children better understand math.

I will continue on with some of the subtraction techniques in my next post, and from there I will go on to cover multiplication and division.  Thanks for reading, and be sure to like or subscribe as this will most likely become a series I am writing!

Common Core Rant

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As a private tutor, I am incessantly met with complaints about the current method of educating students in mathematics.  In many cases, when I meet with a student and parent for the first time, the topic of the dreaded Common Core methods come up.  Time after time I hear the same frustrations.

“Why do they make it so much more difficult than when I was in school?”

“What’s wrong with the old way they taught it?”

“If I can’t understand it, then how can my kid?”

“Why do all these steps when you could just do it like this?”

These concerns are very real, and it is never a bad idea to be involved in your child’s education.  Taking an interest in how your son or daughter learn lets them know that you care, that you’re there to help them should they get discouraged, and helps them realize the importance of practicing their academic skills.  However, I take the unpopular position that the Common Core methods are not inherently bad.

What many people do not realize is that math builds on itself.  It is very difficult to comprehend a topic without the foundation beneath it and fully grasping the necessary prerequisite skills.  What many Common Core strategies address is not only how to arrive at a correct solution, but also how best to build up the techniques that will be used later on in math.  Let’s look at an example.

Say we want to multiply 364 by 12.  One of the Common Core methods for this is to use something called partial products.  Instead of brute forcing it with the algorithm that many of us know, we do it in pieces.  One way would be as follows:

364 x 10 = 3640

and then,

364 x 2 = ?

Here again we break into pieces:

300 x 2 = 600

60 x 2 = 120

4 x 2 = 8

All together we have:

600 + 120 + 8 = 728

So our final answer would be 3640 + 728 = 4368.

I know what you’re thinking (because I’ve had it yelled at me before), “That’s so many steps!  Why bother?”  Well, what do you really do when you line up the numbers and follow the algorithm?

   364

x   12

You would multiply 2 by each part on the top, and get 728, then you would go down, put your zero because it’s in the tens place, and then come up with 3640.  Hmmm.  Hopefully it seems a lot more similar now.  It’s the same concept, just the way it has been written is different.

Unfortunately, people are creatures of habit.  I will be the first to tell you that if you know how to do something in math, good for you.  By all means stick with it, and keep practiced!  Where we run into a problem, however, is when a student does not understand how to do the algorithm the way you do.  What then?  Should I simply keep telling them to do it until he or she might finally accept the process.  How many of you knew why to put the zero in the second line when you first learned multi-digit multiplication?  How many of you just thought about it now?

Is it important to be able to simply arrive at a correct answer?  Of course it is!  Wouldn’t it be far more useful later on to have the knowledge of why a process is happening?  You be the judge.

The reason I tutor is so that I don’t have to stick to one method only.  (More on that in a little bit.)  I get the opportunity to find out which method makes more sense to a child rather than only staying stuck, nailed, and riveted to the same techniques regardless of what helps a child learn.  Because of this, I have taught both ways to multiply on numerous occasions.  Here is what I’ve noticed.  When I teach the algorithm to someone who is struggling and it takes hold, they can usually get it and very soon are having no problem.  Then I ask them to multiply by a three-digit number and….they get stuck.  No idea what to do on the third row with very few exceptions.

The kids who happen to like the partial products method more, however, rarely get tripped up when moving into three digits.  Why is this?  It’s simple really.  The students who do the longer steps don’t need to learn a new rule.  Instead they are prepared to extend their knowledge and tackle a larger problem.  With the algorithm, it must be taught to put two zeroes on the third line as you are now in the hundreds place.  Usually at this point, the child sees a pattern and can move into 4 and 5 digit numbers with little trouble.

Does this mean that one way is superior to the other?  Nope.  Whichever way makes more sense is the way to teach it.  The ability is more important than the method for sure.  Once understanding has taken place, then other methods can be taught to help improve speed and efficiency.

But that brings us back to our initial complaint.  Why does the school force everyone to do the first way then?  Now we are asking the correct questions.  There is nothing inherently wrong with the Common Core methods.  In fact, they are better for preparing students for more advanced topics later on, if any comparison needs to be made.  Where we run into trouble is that the school system has made the mistake of assuming that every person needs to perform calculations in the same manner.

Every person learns differently, and the key to education is figuring out the best way to convey a topic to a student.  When the schools only teach one way in order to attempt to reach the majority, there will always be those who are left out.  The problem with the new Common Core system is not necessarily the methods being used to teach, but rather the ideology behind when and how to use those techniques.  So the next time you have trouble with a topic, or you see your child working through a method that you question the usefulness of, try another approach instead of complaining.  I think you’ll be surprised how it takes away the frustration and helps kids grow in leaps and bounds.

Aspiring to Aspiring Writer

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My entire life has been devoted to simply getting by. Only in the past few years have I even attempted to settle down and focus on myself. Amidst all this recent self-discovery, I have found just how badly I want to write for a living. As I’ve stated numerous times, I have always loved the written word. So it wasn’t much of a revelation to me that an area that I needed to foster in my life was to simply write more.

What did come as a shock, however, was the depth of this desire to write and become an author. Thus, for my first true blog post, I will not write about “How to Become an Author” or “7 Tips for Writing a Bestseller” or even “How I Made Writing a Career.” No, instead, I will take you through my journey from the beginning as I am still aspiring to reach the point in my life where I can call myself an aspiring writer.

Here I will explain the major characteristics that I feel define a writer that you can identify in yourself to see if pursing the profession seems as alluring as it still does for me.

That Story Won’t Go Away

First and foremost, you probably have that idea in your head that you just can’t shake. Perhaps it is some amazing story that you were inspired to conjure up through some major happening in your life. Possibly you simply enjoy writing, and the culmination of all of your experience has brought forth a masterpiece in your mind. Or maybe you are simply like me with a recurring daydream that somehow pieced itself together into an irresistible urge to be recorded for others.

Regardless, you now cannot get this immense story off your mind and think it’d be awesome to share with the world in the off chance they might enjoy it, too. I believe this is one of the most deciding characteristics that people such as myself find to push them forward in their pursuit of becoming an author. Money is nice, as are any rewards for our work, but in the end it is the desire to fulfill our artistic sides that drive us forward to immortalize our thoughts on paper. Having such a tale ready to burst forth is definitely a good sign that you are researching the right career.

So if you are reading this thinking “Hey! He’s talking about                         !” then chances are that you may just yet realize your dreams. (And I might get to read that little nagging story inside your head.)

You Like to Read

While this might seem like a no-brainer, I still feel it is worth mentioning. I don’t know of any writer I know, have read about, or whose work I’ve read, that does not admit to being an avid reader. After all, such amazing works as Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter had to draw inspiration from some source. Their respective authors drew on a combination of life experiences and stories they themselves were fans of to cultivate their own imaginations to birth amazing tales that have become staples for the industry.

Speaking solely for myself, Harry Potter was my childhood. Growing up I was completely enamored of the wizarding world. With age I began to respect the multitude of unique characters and each of their developments throughout the story. Now I love to get lost in the universe that is witches and wizards to imagine the untold tales that surely happened behind the scenes. This passion and love for such an amazing book series fostered my own abilities and desire to emulate my author heroes.

More than that, reading is the best training to hone our craft. Increasing vocabulary, finding new ways to build a scene in the mind of a reader through descriptions, and even deciphering the tone of a story can all shape our own style and help us to find ourselves within the scope of our own writing. Classes and practicing actual writing are of course just as necessary, but without taking the time to stop and enjoy the instruments that lead us to aspiring to become authors ourselves, it would all be for naught.

You Love Your Own Story

I know. It sounds a little narcissistic or even silly, but hear me out. If you don’t enjoy your work, why would anyone else? As I said before, Shifter began merely as a string of daydreams I had while on the bus or train commuting to work. I loved losing myself in the world I was creating inside my head and seeing the different characters live out their lives taking on challenges to overcome them heroically. Shouldn’t it be the same for any book that is headed for the #1 spot?

Again referencing my favorite series (I’m guessing it’s pretty obvious.), Harry Potter not only became a household name due to it’s immense universe, but remains such today due to the never-ending possibilities that exist within. The movie industry is still cashing in on the title for exactly that reason. They can find obscure characters and tell their stories so viewers can see how important they were behind the scenes all along. And that is only part of the puzzle.

Forget media rights and future works. What draws you into a story and keeps you coming back for more? Really take the time to answer that before reading on……Ready? It is losing yourself in pondering what goes on after the main story. What happens next? What went on during this event? I wonder what so-and-so was like before. I wonder if this character and that character were ever romantically involved. I wonder…I wonder…I wonder…That wonder is what makes a tale wonderful and continues to not only bring us as fans back for more but also drives us to talk so passionately about them to bring in new readers.

You Want to Work

Making money as an author isn’t hard. I’ve managed to make some money selling my ebook to a few friends and even a random clicker-through. Earning a living as an author, however, will put all your patience and researching to the test. All I’ve learned in the year and a half that I’ve been going through site after site and book after book reading up on how to best get my book out to the world and then promote it so the world sees it has taught me one thing: nothing comes easy.

And it truly excites me! I’m well aware that nothing worth doing is all easy all the time. What matters is that I am not only willing to take on that challenge but that the prospect is one that I look forward to every day. As an avid consumer of the internet, the idea that I get to get on every day to write something for a blog or try to make new connections with awesome people is a task that does not seem like work to me. Sure building up that animal called an email list is an uphill battle, and sure it takes a good deal of time networking and making sure I’m reading up where to throw my hat in to the reader-blogger pool can be a lot to handle. But at the end of the day, it is a war I am fighting because I believe I can win.

This is where the “want” part comes in. Many sites that I myself have read will let you know that you will need to work, but I’m willing to bet that you already know that. After all, you are either writing, considering writing, or have already written your masterpiece. That was most definitely work, which shows your work ethic. I believe it goes beyond that. A certain level of desire has to be present to make this commitment every day. And what I would like for you to take away more than anything else is that we can all enjoy it together. Which brings me to my last point.

You Love People

This one is purely me, but I am a firm believer that it is, or should be, the guiding principal in any profession. You will need to network, as I’m sure you are aware. That isn’t what I am referring to, though. No, what I mean is that you want to make a connection to your readers. After all, writing is all about giving them a window into your mind and soul and allowing them to take on your story in their own imaginations to make it their own. As they read you get to share an intimate bond with each one where you create a world or worlds together.

Just as paramount is the idea that we authors are not competing. If I become the next big author success story and everyone wants to read my series, does that mean they won’t read yours. Certainly not! I would be honored if anyone who has read Harry Potter reads Shifter and enjoys it because I know they have the same taste in literature as myself. The greatest thing about our line of work is that we do not need to fight one another for “customers.” Instead, we share our friends with one another to cultivate the world through the written word.

 

So, What Now?

Now go on to finish your book and let me know once it is done. At least for now I know I’ve got plenty of time to offer book reviews to help you on your way as well as to share ideas and build a new friendship. I’d love to hear about everyone’s progress regardless of where you are on your own road to fame.

Though this list is by no means exhaustive, and of course is only the key qualities I would like to believe that I have that have driven me thus far, it hopefully is encouraging to see in yourself so that you know you are on the right track. I will continue writing about the things in my daily life as I work through trying to become a real author. So keep aspiring to your own title of “aspiring author.”